Upcoming Michigan Employment Changes
by Beth Swanson

Upcoming Michigan Employment Changes

The proposals within the November General Elections and two new legislative employment acts that were approved on September 5, 2018 by the Michigan Legislatures are going to require employers to review their employee handbooks and make some changes moving toward 2019.

As most of us are aware, there is the proposal on the ballot “To allow under state law the personal possession and use of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older.”  Should this proposal pass, employers can still have a “no tolerance/drug free workplace.”   However, you should still review your policies and make decisions on how this change will affect your workplace.

The Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act will increase the Michigan minimum hourly wage rate beginning January 1, 2019 to $10.00 per hour with annual increases each year through January 1, 2022, at which time it will reach $12.00 per hour.  Beginning January 1, 2023, and thereafter, the minimum wage will be adjusted by an increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W).

The State Legislatures also approved the Earned Sick Time Act (ESTA), which is expected to go into effect around April 1, 2019.  This legislation provides workers with the right to earn and use paid sick time.  This is going to affect all employers and include all employees regardless of the employment status (i.e.:  full-time, part-time, and temporary).

It is expected that there will be some changes made to both of these measures after the November 2018 elections during the lame-duck session.  However, because of these acts you will still need to be prepared to comply with a version of these in 2019.  A couple things you may want to consider, especially as it pertains to the Earned Sick Time Act:

  1. If you are an employer with more than 10 employees, as the legislation is currently written, you will need to allow 72 hours of sick pay. Employers with less than 10 employees, the sick pay hours have currently been set at 40 hours of sick pay per employee.
  2. If you currently have a PTO policy, once the final guidelines are determined, you will need to be sure your accrual requirements are compliant.
  3. You will need to determine what your benefit year is going to be. This will be important as employees are going to be able to use a certain amount per year and have the ability to carry time over from year to year.
  4. Check with your payroll system to be sure they have the capacity to track employees worked time, and accrual of the sick time, as well as usage appropriately.

Again, these are all things to start thinking about as you are preparing for 2019.  None of the above are “set in stone.”   As we all learned with the 2016 “Overtime” Final Rule, be prepared but do not be over-reactive.  It is very important to keep apprised of updates, and reach out to your trusted advisers when needed.


Sources:               No 64, State of Michigan Journal of the State 99th Legislature Regular Session of 2018

2018 HR Executive Briefing, Robert A. Dubault, Warner, Norcoss + Judd

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